The Golden Arches have always been a key player in the fast-food industry, and will now be looking to challenge the corporate coffee industry with an upgraded line up of espresso-based drinks on their McCafe menu. However, as McDonald's adds espresso to the menu, there's no telling how the public will respond.
While this menu expansion might seem insignificant, it's actually quite costly. In 2016, CNN reported that franchisees were forced into spending more than $12k (each) for upgraded coffee machines. Yet, McDonald's has been relatively silent about this new menu expansion.
On September 5, McDonald's updated its Facebook page cover photo with an image introducing, "the new McCafe Espresso menu," which includes an Americano, a caramel macchiato, and a French vanilla cappuccino.
Some industry experts are already labeling this as a big gamble for McDonald's, pointing at operating efficiency as a growing concern. Entering the quality coffee service industry requires employees to understand how to create espresso drinks — while simultaneously attending to fast-food orders.
Essentially, McDonald's envisions employees becoming baristas overnight — in addition to building customizable orders — a shift that is not likely to happen that swiftly, according to the restaurant industry insider On The Margin Blog.
"Bigger menus can slow service, a key element for a chain considered “fast food” and aimed at the on-the-go consumer." — On The Margin, National Restaurant News
Currently, the relaunch of the McCafe menu has price points set around $2.00 for a small sized beverage. However, the brand is also focusing on developing a line of bottled coffee beverages with Coca-Cola, according to Cleveland.com, which include coffee beans and grounds, along with K-cups. All are expected to hit grocery store shelves in 2018.
As the battle for coffee supremacy begins, the collar of Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts will tighten, as McDonald's uses thousands of locations to leverage this new coffee experience.
Now the question remains — will you be changing your coffee spot for McDonald's?